Out now: Politicising Immigration in Times of Crisis — or how to measure the impact of a crisis when we don’t agree when the crisis was

I’m happy to announce a new publication in JEMS on politicizing immigration in times of crisis. Especially so, as it is the ‘first one’ for two of my excellent co-authors!

The basic setup is quite simple, we look at data on the politicization of immigration — our update on the SOM project. It’s a broad understanding of politicization, looking at how different actors (broadly defined) talk about immigration and immigrant integration. We use claims-analysis using printed newspapers as the basis, which allows us to compare the situation over time. We then examine how the nature of politicization differs during times of crisis compared to non-crisis periods.

We have N=2,853 claims to examine, the oil crisis of the 1970s and the financial crisis of the late 2000s as two external crises not directly related to immigration. Theoretical considerations provide us with expectations of how claims-making during periods of crisis differs qualitatively: we look at salience (how many claims are made), polarization (the positions taken in claims), actor diversity (who makes the claims), and frames (how claims are justified).

And then you sit down to define the crisis periods… we started with discussions in the team, soon realizing that we don’t agree. Then we went to the literature, trying to find a more authoritative definition of when these crises started and ended. And then we fully embraced uncertainty: basically there is no agreement on when these crises stared or ended. The solution is also relatively simple: we just used all the possible definitions (a bit of combinatorics there…) and run separate regression models. 7,524 of them to be precise. The nice thing with that is that you really have to embrace uncertainty, and that graphs really are more intuitive than any arbitrary measure of central tendency.

Yes, you get things that are fairly obvious (we can quibble about effect size):

Sample effect size; grey dashed line on right indicates zero; blue dashed line on the left indicates the median coefficient across all the regression models.

and you get things that are simply unclear, with values around zero quite credible, but would you bet against en effect size of +0.05 or -0.05?

Sample effect size; grey dashed line on left indicates zero; blue dashed line on the right indicates the median coefficient across all the regression models.

What I really like about this kind of presentation is that it naturally embraces our uncertainty about the state of things. Yes, “crisis” is vague as a concept, yes, it is difficult to operationalize it (otherwise we would not run 7,524 regression models), but we still can discern systematic patterns of how the politicization of migration in times of crisis differs from non-crisis moments.

Bitschnau, Marco, Leslie Ader, Didier Ruedin, and Gianni D’Amato. 2021. “Politicising Immigration in Times of Crisis: Empirical Evidence from Switzerland.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Online First. doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2021.1936471. [ Open Access]

The Austrian People’s Party: An Anti-Immigrant Right Party.

In a new paper with Leila Hadj Abdou, we examine the profile of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) with regard to immigration. While we put a question mark in the title of the article, we conclude in the affirmative: Yes, we can consider the ÖVP an anti-immigrant party.

To reach this conclusion, we systematically examine the electoral manifestos of the party between 1994 and 2019 — following work I have done with Laura Morales. We can demonstrate that in the past the ÖVP held more ambiguous positions, but especially after 2017 the party has positioned itself more clearly against immigration, especially Muslim immigrants and their descendants as a ‘cultural other’ to the Austrian population. We argue that this change is due to the restructuring of the ÖVP into a leadership party.

Hadj-Abdou, Leila, and Didier Ruedin. 2021. ‘The Austrian People’s Party: An Anti-Immigrant Right Party?’ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2020.1853904.

Ruedin, Didier, and Laura Morales. 2019. ‘Estimating Party Positions on Immigration: Assessing the Reliability and Validity of Different Methods’. Party Politics 25 (3): 303–14. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068817713122.

The Politicization of Immigration in Portugal between 1995 and 2014: A European Exception?

Out now, an extension of the SOM project to Portugal.

Notwithstanding the doubling of the foreign population settled in the country in the early 2000s, the diminished salience and the absence of significant political conflict suggest that immigration failed to become politicized in Portugal.

Happy to see this published, and excellent to see my figures in print so that we can directly compare the results for Portugal with the other seven countries in the original SOM project and the SOM book.

Carvalho, João, and Mariana Carmo Duarte. 2020. ‘The Politicization of Immigration in Portugal between 1995 and 2014: A European Exception?’ JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcms.13048.
Van der Brug, Wouter, Gianni D’Amato, Joost Berkhout, and Didier Ruedin, eds. 2015. The Politicisation of Migration. Abingdon: Routledge.

Come and join us: PhD position at the Swiss Forum for Migration Studies

Come and join us! The SFM is currently recruiting a PhD student (50% FTE, starting 1 January 2020, 4 years). You’ll be writing a doctoral thesis on citizenship or political mobilization related to human migration or human rights. You should have knowledge of Swiss and European migration policies and speak French, German, and English.

Deadine: 1 December 2019.

Advert: http://www.unine.ch/files/live/sites/sfm/files/shared/documents/Annonce_assistant_doctorant_SFM.pdf